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The Magician's Nephew Film Adaptation  

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The Rose-Tree Dryad
(@rose)
Secret Garden Agent Moderator

We don't have a thread open just for discussion of Netflix's (likely) upcoming adaptation of The Magician's Nephew, so I figured I'd start one. Smile

Today on Twitter, I saw a very short fan film shared on a Latin American Narnia account and it sparked my imagination:

https://twitter.com/reinodeaslam/status/1356656265309650944

(EDIT: Alack and alas, they've put their account on private so only followers can see their tweets. Boo. Tongue We'll see if they change that. In summary, it was a short clip of Jadis and her sister battling before Jadis loses, the sister goes in for the kill, and then there's the Deplorable Word. Very cool visuals with a Buddhist (?) temple in the background, exotic costumes, and unusual types of weapons.)

For some reason I'd never considered the possibility that the very end of the war between Jadis and her sister might conclude with hand to hand combat, with the sister winning and Jadis then speaking the Deplorable Word. Yes, it would be a classic case of Hollywood turning something into an action scene Giggle but I really don't think I would mind! It could be such a cool fight scene.

For a while I've had the headcanon that maybe Jadis's sister wasn't so bad, perhaps a noble rebel anyone Jadis calls a weakling has to be at least a somewhat decent person Tongue so I also like the idea that maybe the sister wins the sword battle cleanly by disarming Jadis, but refrains from killing her in an act of mercy. (Hence weakling.) And then Jadis, in the most extreme act of spite, dissolves everything into dust with one word.

Twitter: Rose_the_Dryad

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Posted : February 2, 2021 4:10 pm
Mrs Smooshy
(@mrs-smooshy)
NarniaWeb Regular

I was able to see the video.  It was neat seeing someone acting out a minor scene from one of the less popular of the books (in the general public's mind).  I definitely see the sister as the lesser of two evils but my pity probably stems from the fact that nobody deserves to have the Deplorable Word done to them.  I got the impression no one in that family was truly good.  It was a land filled with slaves and a history of treachery.

 

I am a big proponent of chronological order for the series and it could be neat to see the whole series open with a scene of the fall of Charn.  It could almost serve as a bookend to what will happen to Narnia in The Last Battle and leave the audience with a 'beware lest this happen to your own world' kind of thing.  It could even do a transition from Jadis doing her incantation to Uncle Andrew in his study doing something similar as he puts together the first of the rings.  This is all just coming into my head as I type so I'm not emotionally attached.  What can I say?  I think that video inspired me too.

The Mr, the Mrs (that's me) and the little Smooshers....plus our cats

Fancy Signature pending......

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Posted : March 29, 2021 3:15 pm
Col Klink
(@col-klink)
NarniaWeb Nut

This doesn't have much to do with a Magician's Nephew film adaptation, but I personally prefer the interpretation of Jadis and her sister both being evil, with Jadis being eviler. Having the whole royal family of Charn being bad shows how far they've fallen from their pure beginnings and fits in with the idea that they gradually became so wicked they destroyed themselves. Of course, that's just my interpretation.

This post was modified 1 week ago by Col Klink

For better or worse-for who knows what may unfold from a chrysalis?-hope was left behind.
-The God Beneath the Sea by Leon Garfield & Edward Blishen

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Posted : April 6, 2021 10:18 am
Courtenay
(@courtenay)
NarniaWeb Guru Friend of NarniaWeb
Posted by: @col-klink

Having the whole royal family of Charn being bad shows how far they've fallen from their pure beginnings and fits in with the idea that they gradually became so wicked they destroyed themselves. Of course, that's just my interpretation.

I wouldn't say that's "just" an interpretation, @col-klink — it's exactly what is clearly implied in the book itself, as Digory and Polly are gazing at the statues of the former kings and queens of Charn:

All the faces they could see were certainly nice. Both the men and women looked kind and wise, and they seemed to come of a handsome race. But after the children had gone a few steps down the room they came to faces that looked a little different. These were very solemn faces. You felt you would have to mind your P's and Q's, if you ever met living people who looked like that. When they had gone a little further, they found themselves among faces they didn't like: this was about the middle of the room. The faces here looked very strong and proud and happy, but they looked cruel. A little further on they looked crueller. Further on again, they were still cruel but they no longer looked happy. They were even despairing faces: as if the people they belonged to had done dreadful things and also suffered dreadful things. The last figure of all was the most interesting — a woman even more richly dressed than the others, very tall (but every figure in that room was taller than the people of our world), with a look of such fierceness and pride that it took your breath away.... (p. 48 in the Puffin edition)

Lewis there portrays it very evocatively without needing to go into detail — the rulers of Charn started out as good and kind and wise people, but gradually became more and more proud and cruel down the generations until they culminated in the one who would destroy every other living thing in her kingdom with a single word, rather than lose her throne. It'll be interesting to see how Netflix portrays this particular point and whether it has the same effectiveness that it does in the book.

One thing that does bug me, though — and this is slightly off-topic — is that what we learn of Jadis's history and ancestry here is completely inconsistent with what we learn (rather sketchily) of the White Witch's background in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. That's hard to get around, especially if Netflix does show them in chronological order with The Magician's Nephew first. In LWW, it's indicated that the White Witch (only once referred to as Jadis in that book) is descended from Adam's "first wife" Lilith (a mythical, non-Biblical figure) and from the giants, and there's not a drop of "real human blood" in her. That's very different from the portrayal of her in MN as descended from a long line of kings and queens who started out good and grew worse and worse.

We're also never told how Jadis gets the cosmic role she's portrayed as having in LWW — as "the Emperor's hangman", charged with executing traitors in order that the Deep Magic, put into Narnia at the very beginning, should be satisfied (and if she isn't given her "lawful prey", Narnia will be destroyed). Lewis himself is very sketchy at that point and I get the impression he didn't think it out as thoroughly as he did most of the plot twists in the later books in the series. But it definitely doesn't tie in with what we see of Jadis in MN. She was in Narnia at its very beginning, but there's not the slightest hint of her being given a divinely-ordained duty by Aslan or by his unseen Father, under the Magic that is being put into this new world as Time dawns there. And unless she has that duty, the events of LWW don't make sense.

I've no idea how Netflix will reconcile those conflicting stories, but if they want to be acclaimed as doing a brilliant job, they'll have to get around this somehow...

"Now you are a lioness," said Aslan. "And now all Narnia will be renewed."
(Prince Caspian)

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Posted : April 6, 2021 11:29 am
SonofStone
(@sonofstone)
NarniaWeb Newbie

@courtenay

      I do agree with what you said (and this is on the 'off topic' part), but might it not be possible that the royal line of Charn could have descended from Lilith, possibly coming into Narnia from our world (or a different one) through a 'chasm'. Maybe her Father or Mother took a Giant spouse? And in pertaining to the center of the LWW plot (Aslan sacrificing for Edmond, because the deep magic demands the witch must get lawful pray), I see the witch as the quintessential embodiment of evil for the Narnia universe, so what if Lewis, following that theme, was actually more meaning evil must receive it's lawful prey, and evil at the moment was the White Witch. I have listened/read the Narnia books a ton, and through all the series I can't think of a more original bad guy (girl) in all the books that the WW. Also, I have always seen Mr. Beavers comment about the WW being the 'Emperor's hangman' as somewhat a quip, maybe a little dry humor, fleshing his character some.

Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.
1 Corinthians 16:13-14

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Posted : April 6, 2021 5:58 pm
High King Pete The Magnificent
(@highkingpete)
NarniaWeb Regular

If Netflix did explore a film adaptation with MN, I think it would more closely resemble flashback scenes of Jadis (perhaps being wronged/ as a child), during the final battle between her and her sister. Personally, I would prefer to see the close-up of the steps leading up to Jadis and the sister down below with her soldiers, as is described in MN. Then, like the video showed, Jadis would be left kneeling in the dust of a destroyed world. A very interesting video, thank you for sharing! @rose

Posted by: @courtenay

We're also never told how Jadis gets the cosmic role she's portrayed as having in LWW — as "the Emperor's hangman", charged with executing traitors in order that the Deep Magic, put into Narnia at the very beginning, should be satisfied (and if she isn't given her "lawful prey", Narnia will be destroyed).

Not to get off topic, but I just wanted to add that I don't think Jadis is implicitly given the role of executioner in LWW. While I do agree some of the details that Lewis puts out are sketch, (Ex: Where were the Archenlanders during the Battle of Beruna?), I think Lewis meant that Jadis is on the opposite side of the spectrum from Aslan when it comes to forgiveness. Like goes to like, so whoever does good does so in the name of Aslan, and whoever does bad, does so in Jadis' or any evil authority's name. In that case, she would have 'possession' over them and be able to do with them as she pleases. Not really a executioner's job, just a vague 'like goes to like' proposition. The saying is more fleshed out in LB, where the greater good and evil are Aslan and Tash.

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@highkingpete
@queensuthegentle
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"...but you know little children these days. They just don't know when to stop pretending." - Edmund

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Posted : April 7, 2021 9:27 pm
Mrs Smooshy
(@mrs-smooshy)
NarniaWeb Regular

I wouldn't be shocked if an organization like Netflix tried to make an "oh, poor Jadis had a rough childhood" sort of backstory but in a story like Narnia I think it's OK to have that genuinely evil villain.  I think the book makes clear Charn had long succumbed to the evils of its own heart and desires and though Jadis was the one to give the Deplorable Word that it was a judgment allowed by Aslan (now the fun speculation would be in what form he had appeared in Charn before they stopped inviting him).  It's pitiable what happened to Charn because of the potential it could have had for good and if there anyone I truly feel sorry for it is the slaves and the pack animals.

 

And I guess it is possible Jadis got her cosmic role "off page" but really I am sure Lewis just didn't think of it.  Growing up, I was never a big fan of the book because I found it dull compared to the others (it was the last one I read) and the creation of Narnia felt underwhelming as did the "big quest" for the apple.  The humour with the animals and Uncle Andrew also seemed flat. I have a much greater appreciation for it now as an adult but it does leave some questions unanswered. And my kids loved the bits with Uncle Andrew so it shows how much I know.

The Mr, the Mrs (that's me) and the little Smooshers....plus our cats

Fancy Signature pending......

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Posted : April 7, 2021 9:48 pm
The Rose-Tree Dryad
(@rose)
Secret Garden Agent Moderator

You know, as far as Jadis's heritage goes, C.S. Lewis was heavily influenced by writer George MacDonald, and MacDonald wrote a book called Lilith... I've often suspected there might be something in that work that would give a clue about what Lewis was thinking here, but it's one of his books that I haven't read yet. Hmmm

But yes... *puts on mod hat* ... the discussion of Jadis's origins, at least so far as how MN seems to differ from LWW, is a trifle off-topic for this discussion thread, which is about how MN might be adapted to film. However, if any of y'all would like to start a thread in Talk About Narnia to speculate about Jadis's origins, I would heartily endorse that. Bats eyes

@Col-Klink and @Courtenay, I've thought about the implied rottenness of the House of Charn as well, although I think that wouldn't necessarily preclude Jadis's sister from being a black sheep in the family. The sister does seem to at least have some sort of ethical code since they swore off magic for the war and the sister held to that promise, while also expecting Jadis to do the same. However, perhaps they were both evil, but the sister was evil and practical, and Jadis was evil and crazy; the sister knew that magic would destroy the very world they were fighting for possession of, whereas Jadis didn't care if she destroyed it as long as it was under her dominion. Hence the weakling comment. Eyeroll Tongue

@Mrs-Smooshy, I agree that Netflix shouldn't try to make Jadis sympathetic by giving her a sad backstory... obviously she was raised by terrible people, but it's clear that she was shockingly evil even compared to them!

Twitter: Rose_the_Dryad

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Posted : April 7, 2021 10:47 pm
SonofStone
(@sonofstone)
NarniaWeb Newbie

@rose

      Unless we already have it (seeing as I am so new to narniaweb's forum), then I think it would be a great idea to start a topic on Jadis as a character, her origins and lineage. When it comes to Netflix adapting The MN, I wonder how they will portray Charn right when Digory and Polly enter the royal place, in my opinion it is very important that they make it look like it did in the book, very bleak, drab and stark, nothing but stone and dead vines. If they take it to the point Lewis did they can make it a huge shock, right when they walk into the hall of statues, going from pretty much complete boring stone to BAMB, jewels, royal cloths, gold, riches, etc. I think Netflix will be tempted to make the ruins way more colorful/interesting, which will destroy the very intense contrast of the two that Lewis made a point to highlight in the book. What do y'all think?

Child of the King: SonofStone

Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.
1 Corinthians 16:13-14

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Posted : April 8, 2021 10:04 am
Col Klink
(@col-klink)
NarniaWeb Nut
Posted by: @mrs-smooshy

I wouldn't be shocked if an organization like Netflix tried to make an "oh, poor Jadis had a rough childhood" sort of backstory but in a story like Narnia I think it's OK to have that genuinely evil villain.

I'm not a fan of making Jadis a tragic villain either. But to be fair, it'd annoy me less in a Magician's Nephew adaptation than it would in an LWW adaptation. It's implied that before she ate the silver apple there was some chance of her repenting, but that act of vandalism made her "bad all through" in Mrs. Beaver's words. You could use that to justify having her be sympathetic for a few seconds or two early in the adaptation. I'd much rather they didn't though. Her pride and lack of guilt as she describes the destruction of Charn are so memorably chilling. 

 
Posted by: @highkingpete

Where were the Archenlanders during the Battle of Beruna?

I believe the Archenlanders weren't allies with Narnia during the White Witch's reign, though Susan implies in The Horse and his Boy that they were before she came to power. ("Would have been a cause almost of war between Archenland and Narnia which are friends time out of mind.")

This post was modified 5 days ago 2 times by Col Klink

For better or worse-for who knows what may unfold from a chrysalis?-hope was left behind.
-The God Beneath the Sea by Leon Garfield & Edward Blishen

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Posted : April 8, 2021 1:18 pm
Courtenay
(@courtenay)
NarniaWeb Guru Friend of NarniaWeb
Posted by: @col-klink 
Posted by: @highkingpete

Where were the Archenlanders during the Battle of Beruna?

I believe the Archenlanders weren't allies with Narnia during the White Witch's reign, though Susan implies in The Horse and his Boy that they were before she came to power. ("Would have been a cause almost of war between Archenland and Narnia which are friends time out of mind.")

I reckon it has more to do with the fact that at the time LWW was written, Archenland hadn't been invented yet... Grin Seriously, that to me is the obvious "real" reason for the many discrepancies between the books — Lewis came up with new ideas as the series went on and its scope got broader. But this is going even further off topic than before, so I'll let it go. Maybe we need to start more than one new thread! Wink  

"Now you are a lioness," said Aslan. "And now all Narnia will be renewed."
(Prince Caspian)

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Posted : April 8, 2021 2:17 pm
Col Klink
(@col-klink)
NarniaWeb Nut
Posted by: @courtenay

I reckon it has more to do with the fact that at the time LWW was written, Archenland hadn't been invented yet... Grin Seriously, that to me is the obvious "real" reason for the many discrepancies between the books — Lewis came up with new ideas as the series went on and its scope got broader.

 

I agree, I just don't see why there needs to be an explanation why the Archenland isn't mentioned in LWW (apart from the Pevensies "paying and receiving visits of state" at the end) at all.

 

For better or worse-for who knows what may unfold from a chrysalis?-hope was left behind.
-The God Beneath the Sea by Leon Garfield & Edward Blishen

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Posted : April 8, 2021 2:58 pm
coracle
(@coracle)
NarniaWeb's Auntie Moderator

I found a very old post about Jadis, and what is known about her.

https://community.narniaweb.com/index.php/community/general-movie-discussion/dont-worry-our-changes-arent-as-bad-as-what-lewis-did/paged/3/#post-79228

 

There, shining in the sunrise, larger than they had seen him before, shaking his mane (for it had apparently grown again) stood Aslan himself.

"...when a willing victim who had committed no treachery was killed in a traitor's stead, the Table would crack and Death itself would start working backwards."

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Posted : April 8, 2021 8:30 pm
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